Sun | May 26, 2019

Untold Stories of National Awardees | Henry Wilson hopeful for increased development for Jamaica

Published:Thursday | August 23, 2018 | 12:06 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Maxine Henry-Wilson's contribu-tion to public service extends way beyond politics, for which she is widely known.

"I am glad that the country, through the Government, has decided to honour me," she said.

She told The Gleaner that her dedication to public service was not by chance as the era in which she grew up required and demanded "a certain amount of advocacy".

"Somebody was reminding me that I was always a strident person from sixth form. I was very active in the sixth-form association," the former education minister shared.

Henry-Wilson relayed that while there have been points in her long career in the public service where she has questioned herself about the direction in which she was headed, she has managed to persevere, and in the process has learnt a lot.

Now that she is among the distinguished few to be receiving an Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander on Heroes Day, there is a sense that it has given her added fuel to continue her drive in service to Jamaica.

"I am happy I was able to serve, and I think what the honour says is that it is not only a recognition, but now it's a requirement that you continue to serve as long as you can once you have the intellectual capacity to continue to serve," she stated. "And also that you be an exemplar of the type of service that you are offering."

Although she has stepped away from the glare of the public, Henry-Wilson continues to be a beacon in education, now serving on school boards and offering help to other educational institutions.




But how has a woman who has held such awesome power manage to be so humble, so smooth?

"It is something that you learn and you acquire along the way. You start very radical, very exclusionary, and very judgemental, but as time progresses, you recognise that some of that evolves," she offered.

Still, she acknowledged that persons working in the public sector are humans prone to making mistakes and "it's about just managing it because the most salient point, especially at this point, is that management is difficult, and all of us are in a learning process."

"We shouldn't be so condemnatory, but see what we can do to improve circumstances. That is what I go by," she said.

That aside, though, Henry-Wilson's vision for Jamaica, like many others, is for peace to be the order of the day.

She is also hopeful for increased development for the country.

"When you look at the state many of our people live in, we cannot be proud of it," the one-time politician lamented.